Food production receives boost in Enugu, says IFAD


The Enugu State Coordinator of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Edward Isiwu, has said food production in the state has received a major boost.

Isiwu, who is the state Programme Coordinator of IFAD’s Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), said during a media parley in Enugu that this was made possible by capacity building of rice and cassava farmers and other interventions in the state.

He disclosed that the target of the organisation was to make Enugu the hub of the staple and cash crops in Nigeria, even as he solicited media partnership in the effort to use the two major crops of rice and cassava to eradicate hunger, as well as boost the state’s economy.

He disclosed that other value chain derivatives from the two crops would also be made known to small-holder farmers. Isiwu said that the IFAD-VCDP programme was using transfer of best agronomic and processing practices, market visibility/reach, extension service intervention and financial inclusion for farmers to achieve their targets.

He added that part of the IFAD-VCDP target was to make the state sufficient in the crops and lift thousands of small-holder farmers out of hunger and poverty through best modern agricultural practices.

“Basically, IFAD-VCDP is targeting smallholder farmers belonging to farming organisations/cooperatives (mostly women and youths), having fewer than five hectares of farmland for rice and cassava production.

“In Enugu State, we have selected five pilot council areas, based on established criteria, mapped out by the designers of the IFAD-VCDP programme.

“The pilot council areas producing these two crops included Aninri, Isi uzo and Nkanu East (for rice production and value chain addition) and Enugu East and Udenu (for cassava production and value chain addition).

“We introduce and provide them with best agronomy practices, climate smart agriculture and other basic farm business knowledge at the group/organisational training or workshop level.

“Then we follow them to the farms by providing matching grant support for high-yielding and weather-friendly seedlings and agro-inputs that will increase the tonnes per hectare to about an additional 2.5 tonnes of any given rice or cassava farmland.

“Before going to the farmland proper, IFAD-VCDP has organised for committed off-takers and markets for these produce so that the farmers will get value for investment in good time and ensure continuous farming,’’ he disclosed.

The coordinator disclosed that since the organisation assumed operation in Enugu State in 2020, it had been able to engage a total of 104 small-holder farmers in the dry season between 2020/2021 farming period, especially in rice production.

Source: The Guardian

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